September 19th, 2012

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Athletics

Alex Avila and Quintin Berry weren’t likely to start against A’s left-hander Brett Anderson anyway, so just because they’re not in the lineup doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unavailable. That said, as long as they’re not starting, it wouldn’t be a surprise if both of them sit the next couple days until the Tigers face a right-handed pitcher again.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Omar Infante, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Avisail Garcia, RF
  8. Andy Dirks, LF
  9. Gerald Laird, C

P: Justin Verlander

ATHLETICS

  1. Stephen Drew, SS
  2. Seth Smith, DH
  3. Josh Reddick, RF
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF
  5. Brandon Moss, LF
  6. Josh Donaldson, 3B
  7. Daric Barton, 1B
  8. Derek Norris, C
  9. Cliff Pennington, 2B

P: Brett Anderson

Miguel Cabrera and the Triple Crown race

Would an AL Triple Crown win Miguel Cabrera AL MVP honors?

You’d like to think so, but maybe the question is moot.

An MVP award goes out every year. Nobody has accomplished the batting Triple Crown in 45 years. The Triple Crown is an honor in itself.

The way Miguel Cabrera is hitting these days, it’s starting to look realistically within reach.

With three hits, two homers and six RBIs Monday against Oakland, Cabrera took new ground in all three offensive categories. His .333 batting average now stands six points above Trout, who went 0-for-3 with two walks Tuesday night against Texas. At the same time, Cabrera broke out from a tie for the RBI lead to go up by six over Josh Hamilton. Cabrera’s two homers, meanwhile, halved his deficit to two behind Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Cabrera’s OPS crept over the 1.000 mark for the first time since mid-April. He’s the only Major League hitter over that mark now. He’s 50 points over Trout for the AL lead.

Cabrera has nine more games at home in Comerica Park, where he’s batting .349 with a 1.139 OPS and 26 home runs. He’ll finish out the season at Target Field and Kauffman Stadium, two places where the Park Factor numbers rank more hitter-friendly than Comerica Park.

Bottom line: He can do this. And if he does, it won’t be in a weak year for offense.

The only Major League hitter since 1954 to finish with a .330 batting average, 200 hits, 40 homers and 140 RBIs is Todd Helton in 2000, and he did it playing his home games at Coors Field before the humidor made things more fair for pitchers there. Cabrera has a chance to do it at a place that ranks just barely above average among Park Factors for offense.

If Cabrera wins the HR title, he’ll need 43 homers. Add that to the above criteria, and he’d be the first to reach those marks in a season since Al Rosen in 1953.

If he hits 44 homers with the above criteria, he’d be in territory not seen since Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio in 1937.

You’d like to think that would win him an AL MVP honors, but you don’t know. But the numbers that get him there would be more historic than the award itself.

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